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Adams' Mount Royal Inn Still Waiting on License
By Brian Rhodes, iBerkshires Staff
12:52PM / Sunday, January 22, 2023
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ADAMS, Mass. — After extensive debate of the issue at its last several meetings, the town is still waiting to approve an inn holder license for the Mount Royal Inn. 


The board is waiting on a final inspection for the motel after discussing it again on Wednesday. Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said the building had been vacated, pending that inspection.  


"Once I do my final inspection, I can sign off, and we'll be OK. Mr. Bokhari is working with me, I just have not received any calls for inspection," he said. 


Among the issues Garner said he still has to check is the building's smoke detectors, as well as the repair of a hole in the roof that compromised the fire barrier. Garner said Fire Chief John Pansecchi had already finished his part of the inspection. 


Town Counsel Edmund St. John III said he is ready to continue with an injunction, if necessary, but said it might not be needed if all tenants have vacated the building. He said he has drawn up the necessary paperwork, but has not filed it in court. 


"What I'm hearing from Mr. Garner are encouraging signs to me that we may not have to go that route, because the occupants are out, so that lessens the danger to the public. Not eliminated, but it lessens the danger," he said. 


Mount Royal Inn owner Syed Bokhari was in attendance and said work is ongoing to fix the issues mentioned by Garner. Bokhari said the contract with Louison House to provide temporary shelter has been "abandoned." 


"Even if it's done, it's not going to be operational at least for a month," Bokhari said, noting that Garner could come whenever to do the final inspection. 


Selectman Joseph Nowak voiced his concerns for the people from the Louison House who were previously staying at Mount Royal Inn. He said he disagreed with how the town handled the situation by not immediately following through with the injunction after the last meeting. 


"It does have something to do with homeless people. And that's something that, as the select board, I think we have to keep in mind," he said. 


Town Administrator Jay Green said he had spoken with St. John after he discussed the issue with Bokhari's lawyer, Jeff Grandchamp. 


"It is a dynamic situation. We know that Louison House has people there, people who are unhoused and already vulnerable. We have a life safety issue, and the actions of the town could have greater implications that of which, at the time, we made a balancing act," he said. "I stand by what said, I say to stand by my conversations with town counsel and I stand by the advice I give to this board." 


St. John said he wanted to ensure that whatever he told the court about the situation was accurate.


"If I'm looking for an injunction because of a public health and safety hazard, then I better have my ducks in a row before I ask a judge to do something," he said. 


The board did vote to approve license paperwork for McDonald's, which was also withheld at the last meeting. Administrative Assistant Brianna Hantman informed everyone that the fast food franchise had been sold in December, leading to the miscommunications with licensing. 


"[The sale] is why there was some mixup of where communications were going. It was straightened out, and they did come in and complete payment, complete paperwork and payment of taxes," she said. 


In other business: 


The board ratified the appointment of Cara Farrell as the town's human resources director, a shared-services position between Adams, Williamstown and North Adams. Green said each community will, generally, try to share time equally for at least the first year of Farrell's position. 


"I think in practical application, a lot of the work that Cara will be working on for all three communities will be similar in nature and probably applicable among all three communities," he said. 


• Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin gave the board an update on the Community Development Block Grant. A public hearing, he said, will be held on Feb. 15 for the grant, which Coughlin said will have much more detailed budget information. 


• The board ratified Steven Skrocki as a part-time transfer station attendant. Skrocki had previously had served as the town's parks foreman for the Department of Public Works. 


• During the meeting, the power went out in Town Hall due to scheduled utility work on Park Street. Power was restored to the building roughly 5 minutes later.


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